October 07, 2019

Seoul fears US is delaying envoy’s approval in retaliation for scrapping of security pact, sources say

Featuring Kristine Lee

Source: South China Morning Post

Journalist Lee Jeong-ho

South Korea has waited two months for the US government's approval of its appointed ambassador to Washington, raising concern that the US is delaying its nod in retaliation for Seoul's abandonment of a security pact with Japan.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in appointed diplomat-turned-lawmaker Lee Soo-hyuck to the post of envoy to Washington in early August.

Two weeks later, Seoul announced its decision not to extend the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Tokyo, touching off a rare diplomatic row with the US, its long-time ally.

In an unprecedented protest from Washington, John Rood, the US undersecretary of defence for policy, on Thursday urged Seoul to renew the pact, saying it was “indispensable” to counter China's growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

South Korea’s terminating the pact is generally seen as denting the US-South Korea-Japan alliance and weakening the US' influence in northeast Asia while boosting China’s regional clout.

Read the full story and in the South China Morning Post.

Authors

  • Kristine Lee

    Associate Fellow, Asia-Pacific Security Program

    Kristine Lee is an Associate Fellow for the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). She specializes in U.S. national security strategy ...